Latest Blog Posts

<p>Bradley&nbsp;Cooper and Robert De Niro in &quot;Silver Linings Playbook&quot;</p>

Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro in "Silver Linings Playbook"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Tech Support: Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers on finding the rhythms of 'Silver Linings'

The editors achieved the rare feat of being nominated for a comedy

To say that comedies find difficulty being nominated for Best Film Editing would be quite the understatement. So the nomination of Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers for David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” is a testament to the esteem in which their colleagues hold them and their film.

The editing of "Silver Linings Playbook" is not as showy as some of the work from the duo's fellow nominees, such as “Argo" or "Zero Dark Thirty,” but they never felt the need to be excessively flashy with their craft. “The first obligation is to tell the story,” Cassidy says. “We have to just to go with the material and tell the story as [director] David [O. Russell] has conceived it.”

But there were still challenges. In particular, Cassidy notes the difficulty in balancing the comic and serious tones of the film. Even so, they knew what they were getting into. “The bipolar shifting back and forth was in the script," he says. "That part of the road map was very clearly articulated by David before we got involved.”

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<p>&quot;Paperman&quot;</p>

"Paperman"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Roundup: Is 'Paperman' Disney's best in years?

Also: How the 'Argo' campaign nailed it, and can 'Zero Dark Thirty' bounce back?

In what could be a rather smart campaign move in a tight race for Best Animated Short, Disney have decided to make their charming black-and-white romance "Paperman" -- previously shown in theaters ahead of "Wreck-It Ralph" -- available for all to view online for three weeks, starting today. Film critic Tim Robey, however, doesn't believe the film even needs such an advantage, claiming "the race looks pretty much over" -- on merit alone. "Paperman is the best thing Disney have done in years," he writes. "There are only seven minutes of it, but they’re perfect ... It may, in its modest way, point towards a new frontier in animation, where computer-generated visuals are brought face to face with old-style hand-drawing, because it uses both at once." I'm not entirely sure I agree, and I suspect underdog power will prevail in the Oscar race, but it's a popular point of view. [The Telegraph]  

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Sneak Peek: Academy's new collection of golden age B-movie posters

Sneak Peek: Academy's new collection of golden age B-movie posters

Examples of a future exhibition at AMPAS' planned museum?

Earlier this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a major gift of 1,088 of posters from the golden age of Hollywood.  These pieces of art were donated by Dwight Cleveland, a Chicago real estate developer.  According to the Academy, Cleveland has amassed one of the largest and most historically significant collections of movie posters in the world.  His gift includes posters of westerns, war films, musicals, biblical tales, and social problem films.

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<p>Bradley Cooper in &quot;Silver Linings Playbook.&quot;</p>

Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

The Long Shot: Lifting the cloud on 'Silver Linings'

In praise of the 'lighter' option in this year's Best Picture race

An accidental blessing it may be -- and one that has only come into effect since the Academy moved its calendar forward a few years ago -- but situating the Sundance Film Festival in the middle of Oscar season is a blessing nonetheless. A week of conversation about freshly unveiled, critically malleable films is a necessary tonic at a stage when the same small selection of Academy-approved contenders has been discussed, debated and designated for anything from two months to an entire year.

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<p>Tina Fey on the &quot;30 Rock&quot;&nbsp;set one last time.</p>

Tina Fey on the "30 Rock" set one last time.

Credit: NBC

Celebrating seven seasons of '30 Rock'

A look back at one of the best comedies ever on television, about television
Early in the series finale of “30 Rock” (tomorrow at 8 p.m. on NBC), the series makes a half-hearted attempt at going full-circle in its meta commentary, with Liz Lemon pitching new NBC president Kenneth on the idea of making a sitcom about her life, in much the same way “30 Rock” was itself (very) loosely adapted from Tina Fey’s experiences on “Saturday Night Live.”
 
Kenneth stops her right there, genially explaining, “‘Woman,’ ‘writer,’ ‘New York.’ Those are all on my list of TV no-no words." He then presents her with the full list, which also includes “complex,” “quality,” and “shows about shows” — all words that could describe “30 Rock” itself.  
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"Top Chef: Seattle"

 "Top Chef: Seattle"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef: Seattle' recap: 'Chefs at Sea'

The finalists take to the open water for a sea-worthy challenge

You know what's not appealing at all when you're sick? Food. Also unappealing? Watching a boat lurch up and down in choppy water. So, I am REALLY excited for this episode of "Top Chef," which follows our last five fine chefs onto… a boat. Where they will cook. Let's just hope they don't hit rough water, because I really don't need to see puking chefs, either. 

Anyway, Padma has good news (for now). The chefs must pack their bags for… a cruise to Alaska! Oh, that means very little choppy water, so that's good. The chefs head back to their shared apartment to pack. And drink. Mostly drink, it seems. Those are big wine glasses. 

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<p>Matthew Rhys in &quot;The Americans.&quot;</p>

Matthew Rhys in "The Americans."

Credit: FX

Series premiere: 'The Americans' - 'Pilot'

What did everybody think of the new FX spy drama?

I posted my review of "The Americansyesterday. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of the new FX spy drama? Did you find the period touches believable? Were you able to sympathize with the Soviets? Did you find the dynamics of their quasi-marriage interesting or creepy? Do you like Matthew Rhys' perm? Will you ever be able to get Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" out of your head after the opening and closing sequences? And will you watch again? 

My plan going forward is to make this a part of the regular rotation. I just ran out of time today to write something longer, and I covered a lot of my feelings about the pilot (including the sense that Noah Emmerich living across the street maybe wasn't the most elegant way to have him interact with Rhys and Keri Russell) in that advance review.

Have at it, and I'll have a lot more to say about the second episode, which does not feature "Tusk" but does feature the den of Caspar Weinberger. 

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<p>Former &quot;Glee Project&quot; contestant Matheus Fernandes auditions for &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>

Former "Glee Project" contestant Matheus Fernandes auditions for "American Idol"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' Season 12 Live-Blog - Long Beach and San Antonio Auditions

The judges head to Texas and LA-adjacent for more bickering

OK, "American Idol" Season 12... Let's do this!

First off, thanks to HitFix's Liane Bonin Starr, who did a terrific job of recapping while I was spending my evenings watching obscure documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival. If you loved Liane's recaps more than mine, feel free to complain and I'll force her to add "Idol" to her recapping plate full-time.

Til then, for the 11th straight season (I didn't have a venue for recaps in Season One, plus the Internet wasn't really recapping "American Idol" back then), I'm ready to spend some quality time with Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest and lament the passing of such favorites as Dunkleman, British Guy, Ditzy Girl, Angry Songwriter Girl, The Fish From "Finding Nemo," The Mummified Remains of Steven Tyler and The Co-Star of "Parker." 

But let's see what Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Nicole Kidman's Husband have to say about "American Idol" auditions from Long Beach and San Antonio... Shall we?

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<p>Usher</p>

Usher

Credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Grammy Awards 2013: Handicapping Best R&B Performance

Miguel and Usher battle it out

As the Feb. 10 55th annual Grammy Awards edge closer, we’re analyzing a category a day. Today, we look at Best R&B Performance.

Best R&B Performance Nominees:
Estelle - "Thank You"
Robert Glasper Experiment feat. Ledisi -"Gonna Be Alright (F.T.B.)
Luke James - "I Want You"
Miguel - "Adorn"
Usher - "Climax"


THE PLAYERS:
Robert Glasper Experiment is the critical darling here, but that will only get “Gonna Be Alright (F.T.B.)” so far, despite it being a beautiful, jazzy track. Estelle’s “Thank You” is slinky and sassy, but not exceptional. Luke James is a newcomer who looks like he has a great future ahead of him if “I Want You” is any indication. Usher’s “Climax” is a beautiful, heartbreaking song about a couple who has passed their shelf life. Miguel’s sultry, sexy “Adorn” is the marathon runner of the bunch.

THE ODDS: The odds are “Adorn,” at least 20-1. Twenty is the number of weeks the song has topped Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart, setting a record for the tally. The song appeals to a wide demo, which will also help in the voting. Plus, Miguel’s nominations in the general categories will also give him a boost. The wildcard? If people reflexively vote for Usher because they like him and like “Climax.”

THE WINNER: Miguel, “Adorn.”

Previous Predictions:

Best Pop Vocal Album

Best New Artist

 

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<p>Lady Antebellum frontwoman Hillary Scott takes the stage with Stevie Nicks at the CMT&nbsp;taping of &quot;Crossroads.&quot;</p>

Lady Antebellum frontwoman Hillary Scott takes the stage with Stevie Nicks at the CMT taping of "Crossroads."

Credit: John Shearer/Invision/AP

Stevie Nicks and Lady Antebellum swap songs at 'Crossroads' taping

Country trio debuts brand new song, 'Golden'

As Lady Antebellum and Stevie Nicks prepared to run through Lady A’s Grammy-winning “Need You Now” again after flubbing the first take at a taping of  “Crossroads,” Lady A’s Charles Kelley looked adoringly at Nicks and said, ‘You can do no wrong.” Nicks sassily shot back, “I can and I have.”

So it went with sweet and often amusing banter between Lady A’s Kelley and Hillary Scott and the Fleetwood Mac front woman throughout the 90-minute taping at Los Angeles’ Sony Studios.

When Lady Antebellum debuted with “Love Don’t Live Here” five years ago, critics often compared the trio to Fleetwood Mac for its pop-tinged sound and its dual lead singers in Scott and Kelley, so it seemed all the more appropriate to pair the two acts for “Crossroads,” CMT's 10-year old program that unites a country act with its musical hero from another genre. 

It turns out Nicks has long been a Lady A fan.  "Crossroads executive producer Bill Flanagan told the audience, “We’ve been trying to get Stevie Nicks for years. She said her favorite band is Lady Antebellum.”
“I’ve been listening to their songs for a solid three months,” Nicks said, between “Need You Now” takes. “My neighbors must be like, ‘What? We thought she was in Fleetwood Mac’.”

The new group— Fleetwood Antebellum? Lady Mac?—devoted the first half of the taping to Lady A hits, including “Love Don’t Live Here” and “Own the Night” album track, “Cold As Stone,”  with Nicks either singing Scott’s parts or along with her and Kelley. Occasionally, Dave Heywood chimed in for gorgeous four-part harmonies. The trio debuted a lovely new song, “Golden,” which Nicks was among the first to hear. “Half a minute into it, I started to cry,” Nicks said. “This song is their ‘Landslide’.”  Who knows if the love ballad will reach such legendary heights, but it’s clear having Nicks praise it so was enough for Lady A.

Later in the evening, the foursome performed “Landslide,” which Kelley introduced as “the greatest song ever.” Nicks recounted writing the song in 1973 after her boyfriend/music partner Lindsey Buckingham had gone to tour with the Everly Brothers. “I knew it was going to be special,” she said.

Lady A and Nicks also wrapped their vocals around a stunning, haunting “Gold Dust Woman”  and “The Edge of 17,” marking the first time that Nicks said she had ever performed the latter tune, written about Tom Petty, with anyone else. For trivia buffs, the title comes from Nicks’ misunderstanding Petty’s first wife, who told Nicks she met Petty at “the age of 17.” Her southern accent was so strong, Nicks thought she said “the edge of 17.”

Speaking of Petty, next came the Nicks/Petty duet “Stop Draggin' My Heart Around,” with Kelley ably filling in for Petty as he towered over the diminutive Nicks.

Nicks then bantered with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, who was seated in the audience. Tyler previously taped a “Crossroads” with Carrie Underwood. As Kelley watched the exchange, he said, “Am I dreaming?”

Yep, heady stuff for the members of the trio, none of whom were born when Fleetwood Mac’s classic album, “Rumours” came out in 1977 or Nicks’ first solo album, “Bella Donna” in 1981.

CMT has yet to announce an air date for the Lady A/Stevie Nicks’ edition of  “Crossroads.”

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Watch Ellie Goulding's 'Explosions' video

Watch Ellie Goulding's 'Explosions' video

Fire in black and white

Most explosions have a brilliant array of flaming color. Ellie Goulding's video for "Explosions" is in all black and white.

This performance-mostly clip doesn't give much insight into the ballad or the performer, but the song still stands as brilliant vocal theater.

"Explosions" is from Goulding's latest album "Halcyon," out last year. The English singer is currently on tour in the U.S., where you can see her in full color.

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Beyonce's Super Bowl Half Time promo photo: Sexy referee

Beyonce's Super Bowl Half Time promo photo: Sexy referee

Destiny's Child star copped your Halloween get-up

This year for Halloween, er, the Super Bowl, Beyonce is wearing her sexiest referee getup. The superstar singer posted the promotional photo to her Tumblr, where she's also been sporting some sneak-peak photos of the rehearsals leading up to her official half time show performance for the NFL Championship this coming Sunday.

The stiff-arm pic appears to be from the same shoot that led to the initial teaser image for Bey's booking, where she's sporting hash marks on her cheeks. It continues the years-long tradition of other half time performers like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and the Who posing in thigh-high heels and hot pants in support of their appearances. (Prince, oddly, abstained.)

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